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Veteran Kannada actor and political satirist Master Hirannaiah passes away at 85

Better known as the pioneer in bridging social and political issues to professional theatre, Master Hirannaiah's plays and hard-hitting dialogues possess irreplaceable relevance. He shot to popularity when his play "Lanchavatara" began to feature satirical commentary on contemporary political scenarios since the late 1960s.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bangalore | Updated: May 2, 2019 4:02:30 pm
Natakaratna-Master-Hirraniah-passes-away-satirist-85-759 Renowned political satirist and comedian Master Hirannaiah dies in Bangalore. He was 85. (Special arrangement)

Renowned theatre artiste Master Hirannaiah passed away Thursday while undergoing treatment for liver-related complications at BGS Global Hospital in Bengaluru. He was 85.

Hirannnaiah, whose birth name is Narasimha Murthy, was born in Mysuru on February 15, 1934. Hirannaiah adopted the name of his father, who is considered to be among the stalwarts of the Kannada theatre industry when he debuted on stage as a child artiste.

Master Hirannaiah first shot to popularity with his play “Lanchavatara”, a satirical commentary on contemporary politics in the late 1960s. K. Hirannaiah Mitra Mandali, the troupe that conceptualised the play, was initially run by his father. The drama troupe has so far staged more than 11,000 shows to date.

However, the play had seen its fair share of controversies and invited trouble from the political brass, with upset leaders seeking action against Master Hirannaiah for its strong content.

The troupe is now being run by his son Babu Hirannaiah, who is looking to further the family’s legacy.

A recipient of the Kannada Rajyotsava Award, the second highest civilian honour conferred by the Karnataka state government, Hirannaiah has been bestowed with several others during his time. The list of awards and citations include the Karnataka State Award (1844), Gubbi Veeranna Award (1988), Drama Academy Award, Sandesha Arts Award (2009)and Maha Advaithi Award (2017) among others. His other plays that were widely recognised include Makmal Topi, Anaachara, Devadasi and Bhrashtachara.

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